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Kwando`s Green Season


michael-ibk

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Sangeeta

Your black korhan observations and video are superb, Michael. And the fact that you now identify that sound and behaviour with the Kalahari is just the sort of thing that makes each individual trip report so memorable. I will remember this whenever I finally get there :)

 

Very nice lion video too.

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I love animals. Always have, always will. And it was my first safari to Tanzania in 2011 (http://safaritalk.net/topic/10294-tanzania-2011-my-first-safari-ever/) which made completely sure that there´s

At the airport strip we were welcomed by our guide Vasco and tracker Voda. On the short drive to camp (about 10 minutes) I was happy. It just felt wonderful being back in Africa, and work and home alr

When we started our afternoon safari it was pretty cloudy and looked like rain could fall anytime. The good thing about being a relative safari newbie is there are a lot of firsts on every game dr

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madaboutcheetah

Interesting about the dry season game viewing at the water hole by camp- never been to CKGR in the dry season but I hope to get the detailed observations from family and friends who will be there end of June.

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michael-ibk

When we started our afternoon safari it was pretty cloudy and looked like rain could fall anytime.

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The good thing about being a relative safari newbie is there are a lot of firsts on every game drive. The first "first" on this drive was a beautiful pair of Greater Kudu near camp. Stunning antelopes, and I can never decide if it´s Kudu, Gemsbok or Sable who should get the antelope beauty prize.

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The second "first" were two Steenboks. Very cute with their huge ears, but hard to get pictures of in the high grass.

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The clouds had dispersed by now, and what had looked like imminent rain just half an hour before had turned into a beautiful blue sky. Really fascinating how quickly the weather can change here.

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The signs of rain that had fallen in the past weeks were highly visible however. Roads were mostly fine...

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... but could also look like this at times:

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After spending some time in the bushland (with nice bird sightings, especially Rollers and Vultures) we drove out to the grass pan again. Lots of Gemsbok, some Springbok and one Wildebeest. And Southern Ground Squirrels.

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We then had a very nice sighting of ostriches with chicks. I would have loved to stop and take pictures, but we had new vehicle mates who understandably were eager for seeing the lions, and after it was radioed in that these were seen we rushed to get there.

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The two males, the subadult male and four lionesses all passed the road (taking their time) and then lay down to get some rest again. (After probably having slept the whole day. :) ) Some Black-Backed Jackals were following the lions but didn´t dare to get closer.

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This female generated some excitement. She had all but ignored us when she had passed and relaxed some 20 metres away from us, not even throwing one glance at us. But when we started to drive off she suddenly raised, intensely eyed us and started running after the car! She followed us for some 50 metres and then gave up. Vasco told us that she was not interested in us, but the tyres since she apparently likes to chew on them. Very reassuring. B)

The reason for our sudden departure was an Aardwolf alarm radioed in! Would of course have been great to see one, but he was quickly gone. Dennis, the other car´s guide who had spotted him, was pretty excited, he hadn´t seen one in Tau Pan since 2004! One of his guests (who didn´t quite understand what the fuss was all about) told us she had taken a photo, and all of camp wanted to see it of course. Turned out she hadn´t photographed the Aardwolf, instead she proudly presented a pic of a Bat-Eared-Fox. :rolleyes:

At dinner Dennis told me that he once had had a superb sighting of an Aardvark, but clients told him they didn´t like this weird animal and would rather move on.

We ended the game drive with sundowners and a very nice sunset.

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Great pics and we LOVED Tau Pan.....even to the point that we are thinking of going back.

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michael-ibk

Stunning pics so far...I remember you mentioning the planning of this, looks from the intro you had a great time! Kwando is simply superb.

Looking forward to more!

 

 

Thank you @@Big_Dog . So we´re both new Kwando fans. B)

 

Your black korhan observations and video are superb, Michael. And the fact that you now identify that sound and behaviour with the Kalahari is just the sort of thing that makes each individual trip report so memorable. I will remember this whenever I finally get there :)

 

Very nice lion video too.

 

Thanks, @@Sangeeta , you have practically no chance of forgetting this, as the sound of the Korhaans is pretty much everywhere. At least in the Green season.

 

Interesting about the dry season game viewing at the water hole by camp- never been to CKGR in the dry season but I hope to get the detailed observations from family and friends who will be there end of June.

 

@@madaboutcheetah

 

I kind of get the impression that you´re sending all of your relatives to Kwando. ;)

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michael-ibk

Great pics and we LOVED Tau Pan.....even to the point that we are thinking of going back.

 

@

 

I agree, Tau Pan was much more than I had expected. Basically went there for the scenery of the Kalahari, didn´t expect to see so much wildlife there. Would love to see what the area is like in the dry season. Would you like to return in green or dry season?

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madaboutcheetah

 

Stunning pics so far...I remember you mentioning the planning of this, looks from the intro you had a great time! Kwando is simply superb.

Looking forward to more!

 

 

Thank you @@Big_Dog . So we´re both new Kwando fans. B)

 

Your black korhan observations and video are superb, Michael. And the fact that you now identify that sound and behaviour with the Kalahari is just the sort of thing that makes each individual trip report so memorable. I will remember this whenever I finally get there :)

 

Very nice lion video too.

 

Thanks, @@Sangeeta , you have practically no chance of forgetting this, as the sound of the Korhaans is pretty much everywhere. At least in the Green season.

 

Interesting about the dry season game viewing at the water hole by camp- never been to CKGR in the dry season but I hope to get the detailed observations from family and friends who will be there end of June.

 

@@madaboutcheetah

 

I kind of get the impression that you´re sending all of your relatives to Kwando. ;)

 

 

Haha - that's true :) ........ And now, Mara Plains in Kenya too ........

 

They are actually with me at Lagoon and Lebala and then move over on their own to Tau Pan and LK. I stay at L and L :)

Edited by madaboutcheetah
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Great pics and we LOVED Tau Pan.....even to the point that we are thinking of going back.

 

@

 

I agree, Tau Pan was much more than I had expected. Basically went there for the scenery of the Kalahari, didn´t expect to see so much wildlife there. Would love to see what the area is like in the dry season. Would you like to return in green or dry season?

 

Green for us....

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Atravelynn

Your sound of the Kalahari is a great backdrop for the photos of the report. You have mastered clouds and skies. Really beautiful.

 

The aardvark comments are unbelievable but I guess if people don't understand the rarity of the species, they just see them as homely creatures undeserving of much attention.

 

You're probably right about the lion's bad breath but I don't ever want to find out for sure.

 

Looking forward to what's up next!

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The Bear

Hi Michael.

This is Mark (and wife Lindsey) who shared a jeep with you at Lagoon. Best regards to yourself and Andreas are hope you are both very well. I remember you talking about this forum so thought I would check it out when I got back and recognised your post straight away. I have got to say your pictures are superb, definitely better than mine. We still have a lot of sorting of photos to do so I'm not in a position to post any yet.

 

I'll keep checking back as you post more photos. Really looking forward to see what your pics from Lagoon are like, particularly from that epic morning. I see you have posted a picture of the wild dogs mating already. I won't say any more about what we saw that drive as i don't want to spoil whats coming up, but I have only just stopped peeling from that extra long morning in the sun!!!

 

We had a great time at the camps we went to after Lagoon, I've got the bug now too.

 

Regards

 

Mark

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madaboutcheetah

Welcome to safaritalk @@The Bear .........

 

Now now now ..... Can't wait for more now!!!! ;)

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Kitsafari

@@The Bear time to start on your perspective of the trip now!

 

@@michael-ibk i would race like crazy too to catch a glimpse of the aardvark. i guess it is just us crazy safari nuts who go mad over such wildlife and the normal people who prefer the big cats won't understand our obsession with them.

 

 

my answer on the antelopes - sable is the most magnificent, gemsbok the most elegant and kudu the most adorable. :)

 

great pix of the lions. funny, when we were close to the lions, I didn't think about whether i was scared. instead i was thinking - quick, get that great picture!

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the male dog appears to have an injury below it's right eye.....am I asking too soon?

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michael-ibk

Hi Michael.

This is Mark (and wife Lindsey) who shared a jeep with you at Lagoon. Best regards to yourself and Andreas are hope you are both very well. I remember you talking about this forum so thought I would check it out when I got back and recognised your post straight away. I have got to say your pictures are superb, definitely better than mine. We still have a lot of sorting of photos to do so I'm not in a position to post any yet.

 

I'll keep checking back as you post more photos. Really looking forward to see what your pics from Lagoon are like, particularly from that epic morning. I see you have posted a picture of the wild dogs mating already. I won't say any more about what we saw that drive as i don't want to spoil whats coming up, but I have only just stopped peeling from that extra long morning in the sun!!!

 

We had a great time at the camps we went to after Lagoon, I've got the bug now too.

 

Regards

 

Mark

@@The Bear

 

Now that´s a nice surprise! Hello Mark, great to hear from you and welcome to Safaritalk! Hoping you and Lindsey are well and have settled back into your daily routine nicely. Glad to read you had a good time afterwards, it was Kwara, Pom Pom and ... something else, right? Please do post a report when you´re ready, would love to see your pictures, also from your South African part. So did they manage to get memory cards for you after all? Thanks for the photo flattery, but I´m sure you´re lying. ;)

 

I´m afraid it will take a while until I get to Lagoon in the report, especially our super morning drive. (It really was, wasn´t it?) But I will hurry. :)

 

Please give my regards to Lindsay, and here´s hoping to read more from you here now you´ve got the bug. (It´s the best bug one can get.) If you like you can introcude yourself here:

 

http://safaritalk.net/forum/87-introductions/

 

 

Your sound of the Kalahari is a great backdrop for the photos of the report. You have mastered clouds and skies. Really beautiful.

 

The aardvark comments are unbelievable but I guess if people don't understand the rarity of the species, they just see them as homely creatures undeserving of much attention.

 

You're probably right about the lion's bad breath but I don't ever want to find out for sure.

 

Looking forward to what's up next!

@@Atravelynn

 

Far from having mastered anything, but thank you nonetheless. :)

 

Well, not throwing stones here, I´m sitting in the glass house myself. When I saw a caracal on my first safari in Tanzania I had no idea how special that was. (But at least I didn´t want to move

 

 

They are actually with me at Lagoon and Lebala and then move over on their own to Tau Pan and LK. I stay at L and L :)

@@madaboutcheetah

 

What, no more Kwara for you? :blink:

 

 

@@michael-ibk i would race like crazy too to catch a glimpse of the aardvark. i guess it is just us crazy safari nuts who go mad over such wildlife and the normal people who prefer the big cats won't understand our obsession with them.

 

 

my answer on the antelopes - sable is the most magnificent, gemsbok the most elegant and kudu the most adorable. :)

@@Kitsafari

 

Well, each to their own. So you think we´re not normal? ;)

 

That´s a good answer about the beauty contest, you are very diplomatic. Working in foreign services? ;)

 

 

the male dog appears to have an injury below it's right eye.....am I asking too soon?

@@marg

 

Yes, he has. At first I actually thought it was a flower, but it is a flesh wound. Don´t know how he got that, though.

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Kitsafari
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@@KitsafariWell, each to their own. So you think we´re not normal? ;)That´s a good answer about the beauty contest, you are very diplomatic. Working in foreign services? ;) [

 

we are normal, abnormally normal. heh.

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michael-ibk

Birds, pt. 2 (Birds of Prey)

Hard to tell with high-soaring birds what exactly they are. And one can´t ask the guides about every little spot in the sky. So I don´t really know what kind of eagles, goshawks, kites & friends we saw up there, since few of them were accomodating enough to get into picture distance. In the Kalahari, where we saw probably most of them, the car´s roof was a real hindrance.

The African Fish Eagle is often described as "the Voice of Africa". We heard it regularly, but didn´t get to see it as often as I would have expected. Twice in Kwara, twice in Lagoon.


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Much more common was the Bateleur, which apparently does not rise as high as other birds of prey and is quite easily identified by its distinctive long wings, broad, bulging secondaries and its very short tail. (Because of which it´s also called "Short-Tailed Eagle", which is decidedly a name too uncool for this awesome bird.)

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Juvenile

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We saw some Snake Eagles, twice the Black-Chested Snake Eagle, but more often we spotted the Brown Snake Eagle.


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Tawny Eagles were pretty regular sightings, but unfortunately always refused to come any closer.

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In Lagoon we saw several Wahlberg´s Eagles.

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In Nxai Pan we saw Red-Footed Falcons, and in the Kalahari Amur Falcon and Lanner Falcon.


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Near Tau Pan we had a sighting of this Gabar Goshawk:


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Its bigger cousin, the Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk, was all over the Kalahari, we saw dozens of them. When we spotted a bird of prey perching somewhere we would eventually ask "Is it a goshawk or something else?"


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Also in the Kalahari was this Black-Shouldered Kite.

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Other birds of prey identified: Martial Eagle, Montagu´s Harrier, Yellow-Billed Kite

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Atravelynn

Nice flying pale chanting goshawk! Red footed falcons are not very common. Maybe they are in the Kalahari areas.

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TonyQ

@@michael-ibk

Very enjoyable report with great photos and lots of useful detail

You have had some excellent sightings so far - and obviously more to come

The Gemsbok are beautiful - as are your Kudu!

Maybe the winner in the beauty contest is the one you are looking at?

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michael-ibk

Deception Valley

 

The next morning we got up a bit earlier, at 05:00 and had breakfast already at 05:30, since we had the day trip to Deception Valley scheduled for today. (All our jeep buddies were fine with the day trip as well so it was no problem at all. I have read that guests sometimes don´t find anybody else willing to go however, that´s why I had asked already in advance.)

 

Since it was still dark we were escorted to breakfast and soon left camp, around 06:15. A nice sunrise greeted us:

 

 

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We didn´t drive to Deception Valley directly but made a circle via Sunday Pan and Leopard Pan, so it is a lot of driving. Some other guests who had heard of us doing Deception Valley wanted to do this as well. Problem was they had to be back at camp at 11:00 for their plane and were told it could technically be done, but wouldn´t be much fun since they wouldn´t have time to stop for anything, they could just race to the Valley, look around for ten minutes and then they would have to instantly rush back. Still, they insisted on doing it, and as I was told had a very fast race-drive there and back again. Didn´t make much sense to me, but each to their own.

 

After leaving Tau Pan we entered a very different terrain, lots of sandy hills, long grass and lots of shrubbery. No mammals to be seen for hours except two Kudus and a few distant Gemsbok, but fascinating scenery and lots of birds, especially very impressive flocks of Red-Billed Queleas.

 

 

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The Road

 

Not many flowers here, a melon once in a while, and sometimes beauties like this:

 

 

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We also found this snake:

 

 

I asked about its name (even in the video) but didn´t quite get it, so if someone could identify it for me that would be great.

 

After about two hours we reached crossroads and turned left for Sunday Pan:

 

 

 

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Vegetation started to get greener and lusher, and soon we got very excited - Vasco spotted a Honey Badger! We all very pretty enthusiastic and could watch the little guy for a good ten minutes. Unfortunately he was difficult to see in the high grass, kept moving and refused to give us a good shot at him. (Autofocus and grass don´t get along all that great neither.) Well, it´s a honey badger, and honey badger don´t care, right?

 

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So, not even half-decent (or quarter-decent) pics, but I was happy. Had really wanted to see one of these, and now the Kalahari had duly delivered. :D (According to Vasco they are quite easy to see in the dry season, and good sightings during a 3-day-trip are almost guaranteed.)

 

One of our jeep buddies got better shots, and promised to mail one to me. So if you´re reading this, Dave, I still believe in you. :-)

 

We then reached Sunday Pan, a depression with short grass and lots of Springboks and Gemsbok, very similar to Tau Pan.

 

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We also found these Southern Ground Squirrels, which never fail to entertain:

 

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And this, identification help welcome again:

 

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After circling the Pan we had our coffee break at one of the campsites nearby:

 

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michael-ibk

Nice flying pale chanting goshawk! Red footed falcons are not very common. Maybe they are in the Kalahari areas.

@@Atravelynn

 

Red-Footed Falcons were not common. We saw none in the Kalahari, only one sighting of them at Nxai Pan, a pair of them.

 

 

@@michael-ibk

Very enjoyable report with great photos and lots of useful detail

You have had some excellent sightings so far - and obviously more to come

The Gemsbok are beautiful - as are your Kudu!

Maybe the winner in the beauty contest is the one you are looking at?

@@TonyQ

 

Thank you, and another good answer for my beauty contest, I think you are very right there. :)

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madaboutcheetah

Ah! Deception Valley ..... brings back many memories to me from March, 2010 ..... We camped right there while on a mobile safari and the place was truly magical!!!

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graceland

Nice road trip to Deception, @@michael-ibk..Was interested in seeing myself when in Bots, but not enough time for everything. One reason I so enjoy everyone else's TR's...seeing places I may get to one day...never soon enough.

 

I liked TonyQ's remark," Maybe the winner in the beauty contest is the one you are looking at" I think like that when asked, what is your fav. sighting today.

 

 

Looking forward to more :)

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Atravelynn

Hey hey Honey Badger! Ground squirrels are always entertaining and adorable.

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madaboutcheetah

@michael-lbk ........ How reliable were the Lion sightings around the Tau Pan area itself? Reason I ask - as I mentioned I have friends and family going in the winter and are curious as to what they will see (what with the game all spread out and all ......)

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at first glance I thought the reptile looked like a stiletto snake - but it does not sound like what the guide called it, still could be some sort of sand snake

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